Xeno Causes: Build the Dream: STEM Conference
For our 20th anniversary, throughout 2017, Xeno Media is implementing Xeno Causes. Each staff member chooses a charity near and dear to them and Xeno Media:
- Makes a cash donation to the charity
- Publicizes the charity through our blog and social media
Our April Xeno Cause is the Build the Dream: STEM Conference as selected by Caro Manel.
In their words:
Build the Dream: STEM Conference is a fun and inspiring conference geared toward increasing the participation, retention and advancement of the number of Latina girls in science, technology, engineering and math. By using local volunteers to lead workshops, girls and parents/mentors meet with mathematicians, engineers and scientists who live and work in their own communities, who serve as role models at the conference and as possible mentors in the future. They will share details about their careers, answer questions, and give you a little taste of daily life in their workplace.
We target Latina girls or Latino heritage that are currently in 7th through 9th grade. Research indicates that Hispanic high school dropout rates exceed that of all other groups. Although the Hispanic dropout rate has reached a record low, dropping from 32% in 2000 to 14% in 2013 among those ages 18 to 24 years old, the Hispanic dropout rate remains higher than it is among blacks (8%), whites (5%) and Asians (4%) according to the Pew Research Center.
Only 2.3 % of Latina women are represented in STEM fields compared to 4.9% of white women and 10.3% of men, according to The Status of Women in the States: 2015 from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Furthermore, Hispanic women make up just 1 percent of jobs in engineering and computing, the two highest-paying STEM fields.
Why Caro supports Build the Dream:
Latina women are minorities within a minority in STEM.
According to the US Department of Labor 24% of all STEM workers are women, but only 3% of them are Latinas. This number concerned me so much that I decided not only to volunteer but also to coordinate Build the Dream.
The path to STEM must start early. It is difficult for young girls to be what they can’t see, hence the importance of role models, which Build the Dream is helping to provide.
By bringing Latina girls as young as the 7th grade to speak with STEM professionals in the field, Build the Dream seeks to spark an early interest among Latina girls in the rapidly expanding academic major and professions of the future. Leading by example is what we do.
We are showing girls that a Latina Woman is capable of doing problem-solving and critical-thinking, that we are not afraid of challenges and that we love to innovate.
We Latina women in STEM are contributing to change in the world through our creativity and dedication.